“Look out!” I could hear Astrum's voice cut through the sounds of metal clashing.
I turned quickly just in time to see the monster's poisonous claws headed straight for me. I dove out of the way, but my arm was still nicked in the process. I'd be okay though. It wasn't the first time I'd been hit from one of these guys since I came to Arcadia. It still hurt and I found myself crying out from the burning sensation of the poison seeping into my blood stream.
“I'm fine!” I shouted to the Seraph. “It's just a scratch.”
Although it had only actually been a few days in the real world, I had been in Arcadia for a few months now. Hiroya and I made a point to come to the field every day to work on leveling up so that we could hurry and take on the Ark. It was hard work, but I had managed to get my level into the double digits finally.
Today however, there was a surge of monsters in our usual training area. We were not prepared for the constant onslaught. Luckily for us, Astrum had come to help us. One of Clarius' scouts apparently heard about a spawn rate increase. And like the worried leader he was, Astrum dropped everything to make sure we were alright.
It was a good thing he did. Otherwise, Hiroya and I might not have survived.
I suddenly found myself enveloped in a green light. I peeked over my shoulder and spotted Sirent casting a spell.
“Thanks,” I breathed.
The burning sensation disappeared as the poison debuff was dispelled. I took up my bow and fired a few arrows at the monster. It gave a pained roar and stumbled back. Hiroya jumped in and used one of his boxer skills to finish it off. With this monster gone, that made nearly a dozen. But there were still more. The two of us panted heavily. There's no way we could keep going.
Astrum must have realized this as he withdrew his powerful sword. “Divine Blade, lend me your strength!”
It was over in an instant. Astrum effortlessly destroyed the rest of the monsters. They disappeared in a flurry of red data. With the imminent danger gone, I could feel my legs weaken. I managed to keep myself upright though. I didn't want to worry Hiroya or Astrum.
“Amadeus!” Astrum called out to me as he hurried over. “Are you hurt?”
I shook my head. “I'm fine. Sirent took care of the debuff. Are you alright Astrum?”
“You needn't worry about me.” He gave me a soft smile. “As leader of the angels, it's my duty to protect those in need.”
There he went again with his strange way of talking. But that was alright. He was a good guy and an excellent player, so everyone overlooked his serious role-playing. It didn't bother me at all. It was a little weird to hear someone actually speaking like that, but it wasn't a bad thing. It made Astrum unique and special.
And it was a quality of his I found myself attracted to.
“We should get back,” Hiroya panted.
“I agree,” Sirent added. “The longer we stay here, the more likely we'll be surrounded by monsters again.”
“Alright,” Astrum nodded. “We'll return to the Celestial Palace for now and investigate the increased spawn rates later.”
Our little party set out toward the angel's capital city. It wasn't too far from where we currently were, but it would take a bit of walking.
As we walked along silently, keeping our guard up for any surprise attacks, I couldn't help but notice Astrum glancing at me every so often. That was a bit weird. Did he want to ask me something? Did I have something on my face? Was something wrong?
He suddenly stopped, forcing us all to stop as well. “We should rest for a bit.”
“What?” Hiroya gaped. “The capital's just a bit further. We can rest when we get there.”
“But-” His plea was cut off by his closest companion.
Sirent crossed his arms. “I would have to agree. It's still not safe out here Astrum.”
Astrum clicked his tongue in annoyance as he turned back around. “Have it your way.” Just as we started walking again, Astrum reached out and tugged me closer to his side. “Stay close to me.”
I could feel the warmth rising to my cheeks. I'm not sure what prompted his sudden move, but he obviously knew something I didn't. I had always trusted Astrum and I always would. So if he felt it'd be better for me to be as close as physically possible, then I would do my best.
Our quiet trek to the capital continued. We reached the city's outer walls easily enough. Relief swept over me and I lowered my guard. And that's when it happened. I'm not sure what happened exactly, but I could see the panic on Astrum's face as everything around me began to spin into a sickening blur.
“Amadeus!” he shouted.
I reached out for him; trying to connect our hands to let him know I was alright, but my body wasn't responding. The spinning increased and I could no longer tell up from down. I heard Hiroya call out my name, but he sounded so far away. As did Astrum's voice.
“Amadeus!” I think his arms were around me; holding me somehow. “Stay with me!”
For a while I felt weak and cold. And then suddenly I was enveloped in a comforting warmth. I could hear noises... voices... But I couldn't understand any words. I tried to move, to open my eyes, but my body felt so heavy. I had no idea what was wrong. I had just been standing next to Astrum completely fine a moment ago.
Was I dying?
Had the poison not actually been cleared from my system?
Shuffling noises sounded all around me and I could feel faint pressure on various parts of my body. Was someone touching me? The warmth around me increased and I suddenly felt something press tenderly against my lips. I desperately tried to cling to the sensation, but the darkness soon swallowed me up again.
I'm still not entirely sure what happened to me, but when I was finally able to open my eyes I noticed the sun had set. I had to have been out for half a day at the very least. I looked about and discovered I had somehow been brought to my room in the Celestial Palace. I still felt a bit weak, but not like I had before. I managed to sit upright.
I discovered why I had felt so warm. More than a few blankets slipped off me as I sat up. Another cloth fell into my lap. I picked it up to look at it and realized it was a bit damp. It had probably been placed on my forehead.
My door quietly opening had me turning my head to the left. I was relieved to see the large ruby colored angel wings appearing in the doorway. I watched as Astrum quietly shut the door behind him. He seemed to be carrying a small bowl of what looked like water. I tried hard not to giggle when he nearly dropped it as he turned and saw me sitting upright in the bed.
“Amadeus!” he breathed. The Seraph rushed over to me and quickly enveloped me in a tender embrace. “I was worried you wouldn't wake.” He pulled back to stare at my face; a shimmer in his eyes and a relieved smile on his lips. “I'm glad to see you're alright.”
I smiled back, unable to resist his affection. “What happened to me?” I asked. It had all happened so fast, I wasn't given the chance to process what might have occurred.
“It doesn't happen often to players,” he started as he moved to sit on the bed beside me. “But sometimes when you're poisoned, you can develop a sudden intense fever. Even if the poison is dispelled quickly.”
“But I've been poisoned before.”
“We're not sure why it happens,” Astrum continued. “It appears to occur at random. Had I not noticed your flushed complexion back in the field...” His face looked pained as he gazed away.
“Has anyone...” I couldn't finish my thought.
“A few have.”
Silence surrounded us. I now understood Astrum's relief at seeing me awake. I had no idea I had been so close to dying. I'm sure he felt some sort of guilt. But it wasn't his fault. As he said before, it was random and you could never tell when it would happen.
I reached out and intertwined our fingers. “I didn't mean to worry you.”
“I'm the one who should be apologizing.” Astrum turned his full attention back to me and gently caressed a lock of my hair. “I promised no harm would befall you under my protection. And I failed you...” He bit his lip and tried to look away, but I reached out and placed my free hand on his cheek to keep his gaze connected with mine.
“Astrum,” I said tenderly. “If you failed to protect me, I would no longer be here. I wouldn't be able to touch you right now.”
His hand shifted to cup at the back of my neck. He brought our faces closer together until our lips softly touched. I leaned into the kiss a bit, but this just made Astrum pull away.
“Forgive me,” he said. “You should rest. You only just recovered.”
Astrum stood from the bed and moved away from me, but I reached out and quickly grabbed his wrist. We both needed the physical assurance that the other was there. I wasn't about to let him run away and blame himself for what happened to me.
“I'm better now because of you.” I hoped my smile conveyed the affection I held for him. “Please stay with me.”
He chuckled softly and returned to my side. “As you wish.”
I suddenly remembered the pressure I had felt on my lips while I was unconscious. “Astrum,” I started, curiosity getting the better of me. “Did you by any chance kiss me while I was asleep?”
His cheeks turned a soft pink. “Yes.” He almost looked sheepish. “You were sleeping so deeply I was worried you would never wake. I remembered the story of Sleeping Beauty and figured I could try and wake the princess from her slumber with a kiss.”
I laughed softly into the back of my hand. That definitely sounded like something Astrum would do. It was cute, and the thought had my heart racing. He thought he was going to lose me and if what he said was true, he very nearly did. There was no telling if we'd survive this world. I needed him to know just how much I loved him before it was too late.
And there was only one thing I could think of to accomplish such a feat.
I pulled him back down for another kiss. This one much deeper than the first. We needed to completely feel the other for reassurance. I pressed harder against his lips and he seemed to understand what it was I wanted. I didn't want to die without getting Astrum to understand just how much I loved him.
“Astrum,” I breathed against his lips the moment we parted. “Please make me yours.”
He pulled back a moment to stare into my eyes. I'm not sure what he was looking for, but he seemed to have found it. “You should be resting, but if this is truly what you desire...”
“Yes.” My voice was airy and a little desperate as I replied. “Yes please.”
Astrum chuckled again as he gently urged me to lie back. “Who am I to deny one as beautiful as you?”
I could feel my cheeks warm from his compliment.
Our lips pressed together once more, but this time I parted mine to allow Astrum entry. He seemed to hesitate for a second before I could feel his tongue shyly enter my mouth. I swiped mine against his to let him know it was alright. It worked and soon our tongues were rubbing against each other in a very lewd manner.
This kind of kissing was dangerous. I could feel a heat beginning to develop between my legs and I became light headed from the pleasure I felt. We continued our passionate kissing for some time before I was forced to pull away for air.
“Astrum,” I gasped.
“Amadeus.” He smiled down at me lovingly. “If you wish to stop, please tell me before I am unable.”
So sweet. Always thinking about me first. I cupped his cheek and returned his smile. “I'm fine. Please continue.”
He kissed me gently before moving his lips to my neck. I had always thought something like this would feel gross, but it felt hot and erotic. The heat I felt increased to a dull throb. As he nipped and licked at my neck, I could feel his hands shift to the collar of my dress. His fingers tenderly opened up the top portion to reveal my white, lacy bra.
“Such beauty,” he murmured against my flesh.
My head was beginning to spin from the pleasurable sensations coursing through my body. Astrum lifted my bra out of the way and gently cupped my right breast. He massaged it carefully before his fingers tweaked my nipple to hardness. I moaned softly.
Astrum pulled back slightly to stare at my face. I imagine my cheeks were lightly flushed from the heat I felt coursing through me. I whispered his name. He moved lower to stare at my exposed breasts for a moment. Although I knew it was coming, nothing could have prepared me for the pleasure to shoot through my body as his tongue flicked out to lap at my nipple. My moan was much louder this time.
It grew even louder as his sucked it into his mouth. I had explored my body out of curiosity before, but never before have I felt such pleasure. Maybe this is what it felt like to give yourself completely to someone you love.
He continued to give my breast attention before moving to the other one. More pleasure coursed through me eliciting loud moans in return. That heat between my legs was so intense now it was practically painful.
“Astrum,” I begged as I gently lifted his face from my chest. “Astrum please. I need you.”
The Seraph sat up a bit and cupped my cheek affectionately. “There's no need for you to beg Amadeus.”
He placed a tender kiss on my lips that became passionate briefly. When we parted, Astrum helped me out of my clothes and I assisted him with his. My hands ran down his muscular chest. He was pale, but still beautiful. He suddenly grabbed my wrist and moved it over his heart. I could feel it pounding like crazy. My own heart rate seemed to increase in reply to feeling his.
“Astrum,” I breathed.
He lied me on my back and settled between my legs. “I will be as gentle as possible.”
So then he knew it was my first time.
Astrum parted my legs a bit wider and I could feel his hardness align with my most intimate place. He rubbed it against me for a moment before slowly slipping inside. The relief and pleasure I felt was amazing. He pushed a bit further inside and I could feel something resisting a bit. He sat there for a moment to give me time to adjust. Once he felt I was ready, he thrust a bit harder, getting past the resistance and settling all the way inside me.
I cried out. But not from pain. Sure there had been a bit of discomfort when he breached me, but the pleasure overwhelmed that instantly.
“Are you alright?” he asked while brushing my hair from my face.
“Yes,” I moaned. “Yes I fine.”
He waited a while before finally moving. If I had thought the initial penetration felt amazing, then the movement felt euphoric. I could barely put into words what I felt in that moment. My mind began to blank as the pleasure overwhelmed me. I hadn't even realized I was moaning rather loudly until Astrum lowered himself and captured my lips.
I could feel him grunting and breathing heavily against my lips and he swallowed every one of my moans. Our connected bodies moved faster, racing to the blinding pleasure just up ahead. I crested first. Every muscle in my body tightening as I tore my lips from Astrum and cried out his name in delight.
Astrum was close behind me, stilling as he groaned softly; my name falling lovingly from his lips. Not Amadeus or Almighty, but my real name.
My heart swelled with love.
We shared a few lazy kisses before Astrum removed himself from me to lie right beside me. He pulled the covers over us and I found myself drifting into a content slumber, safe in his warm embrace.
When I next opened my eyes, the sun was shining brightly through my large window. I rolled over to escape the bright light only to come face to face with a softly smiling angel.
“Good morning Amadeus,” he greeted. “I trust you slept well.”
“Good morning Astrum.”
I could feel my cheeks warm from the memories of the previous night. I could tell I was still naked and Astrum likely was as well. I shifted closer to him to connect our lips and he happily obliged. He suddenly pulled the covers up past my exposed chest before breaking our kiss and looking over his shoulder.
“Leave so that Amadeus may dress,” Astrum suddenly said..
I held the blankets in place as I peered around Astrum. Standing there dumbfounded and red faced in the open doorway was my childhood friend.
“Oh, um, good morning Hiroya,” I stuttered out pathetically.
Hiroya clearly did not like the situation as he shifted to pounce on the Seraph. “You perverted angel!”
Even if we could never return home, I would be okay with that as long as Astrum was by my side.